Porsche made inroads on Toyota as the thirteenth hour of racing came to a close at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Marc Lieb, driving the #2 Porsche, was consistently quicker than Kamui Kobayashi in the #6 Toyota to put the latter’s fuel longevity under pressure.
At four o’clock local time Kobayashi held the lead of the race, but the gap had come down to 42.099 seconds compared to the minute-plus advantage enjoyed by Mike Conway over Romain Dumas in the previous stint.
Toyota continues to operate a triple stint system, while Porsche has been quadruple stinting the same Michelin tyres.
Third place after thirteen hours was the #5 Toyota TS050 of Anthony Davidson, which retained its place on the lead lap 33.396 seconds behind Lieb.
LMP2 leadership remained with Gustavo Menezes of Signatech Alpine, who led the Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA of Rio Hirakawa at the turn of the hour. Will Stevens was third for G-Drive, but a second one minute stop-go penalty of the race – this time for speeding in the pit lane – will throw the car off the lead lap.
In GTE-Pro, Matteo Malucelli continued to hold off the two US-entered Ford GTs, with the pit stops delivering no change in the order. GTE-Am was the only class to see sustained change in leader during the thirteenth hour, as Townsend Bell moved the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia ahead of the previously dominant Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR despite making two extra pit stops.
There were no further retirements to note, as the attrition rate stays fairly low in the clear-weather running.